The 13 Assumptions of the Presidential Campaigns
Posted on October 31, 2012
Joe Scarborough, the fair-weather conservative from MSNBC’s Morning Joe, was about ready to throw in the towel on the Romney campaign at 6 am this morning. He is buying into the CBS-New York Times poll that stubbornly clings to the fiction (my words) that Romney is losing to Barack Obama by 5 points in Ohio.
This election is a battle of assumptions.
The Obama campaign assumes that enough minorities are going to turn out to swing the election to the President. They assume that:
- the President has the upper hand in Ohio, and that Ohio is the only state that really matters.
- they can turn the election completely away from the economy and on to issues like abortion and contraception.
- they have made Romney so toxic that he can’t get elected in the Upper Midwest.
- there are more Democrats than Republicans and that the Independent vote (which skews heavily for Romney) is meaningless, because most of those independents are former Republicans who still hate George Bush.
- their turn-out operation is the best ever invented.
- having a bunch of satellite offices staffed by college kids is a guarantee that they will be able to turn out the vote.
- the election of 2010 was a complete anomaly and that the biggest rejection of a President in a midterm election in history was basically meaningless.
- the first debate was overshadowed by the next two debates.
- because the economic outlook is brightening slightly that a persistent unemployment rate of around 8 percent will largely be forgotten.
- Romney’s 47 percent comment will kill him with middle class voters.
- the fact that the President is around 47% in the polls is enough to get him past the finish line.
- the fact that Romney is now pulling within the margin of error in Minnesota and Michigan is not a sign of a wave against the President, but just a sign that the Obama campaign hasn’t run any commercials there and it can be easily fixed.
- the Ryan budget and its Medicare provisions will help sway senior voters to the Obama ticket.
The Romney campaign assumes that:
- the media polls are basically meaningless.
- those polls assume a far lower percentage of white voters (around 72%) than what they expect on election day.
- the enthusiasm gap is meaningful and will help fuel a wave for Romney.
- Romney’s move to the middle has settled down married women voters, which has helped to even the gender gap.
- minorities won’t turn out like they did in 2008 (thanks to the President’s embrace of gay marriage and his refusal to move immigration reform in 2009).
- Obama’s track record as President and his inability to move to the center will hurt him with middle-class voters.
- the inability of the President to explain himself on Libya will hurt his foreign policy credentials.
- the persistently high unemployment rate will hurt him with voters.
- Obamacare is still toxic with voters.
- Paul Ryan helped energize conservatives without alienating moderates, and that Obama’s Mediscare campaign will largely fall flat.
- what is happening in Minnesota and Michigan is a sign of things to come.
- also, the fact so many of their second-tier Senate candidates are closing the gap (Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Florida) is also a sign a wave against Democrats.
- the organizational machinery left over from the 2010 election from outside groups (Americans for Prosperity, various Tea Party outfits, etc), will more than counteract the Obama campaign’s satellite offices.
Basically, the Romney campaign assumes that the American people have largely rejected the Obama Presidency and that will help them to prevail. The Obama campaign basically assumes that its organizational superiority will trump whatever concerns the voters have with the President.
I have bought into the Romney campaign’s assumptions. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am.